Europe is filled with countless fantastic cities that attract tourists from near and far. Unfortunately, it’s no secret that unfavorable exchange rates and high price tags keep many from planning travels to Europe, as an indulgent trip to some of its most popular cities can quickly break the bank. The trick to planning your Europe vacation is to first and foremost, do your research. You might be surprised to learn that many beautiful tourist-friendly cities, rich with culture and history, are less expensive than you might think.
To help with your planning, we’ve compiled a list of the top cities home to Europe's most affordable holiday homes, based on the average nightly rate of rental properties in the city. Budget friendly travelers should seriously consider a trip to these destinations, as they are each beautiful, facinating, and perhaps most importantly, home to the most affordable vacation rentals in Europe.
Europe's Cities With the Most Affordable Vacation Rentals
1. Ohrid, Macedonia
With breathtaking views, and the most affordable rentals in Europe, the lakeside city of Ohrid is a fantastic destination for all travelers. Ohrid is full of ancient ruins from Macedonia’s earlier kingdoms. So many in fact that the city is part of UNESCO’s “World Heritage” list. Old Town’s restaurant and café-lined streets beckon tourists and locals alike to enjoy a relaxing meal out. To experience the city’s history first hand, visit one of its many old churches. One standout is the Church St. Jovan Kaneo, which sits high on a cliff overlooking Lake Ohrid, and is possibly the most photographed structure in all of Macedonia. The lake itself is a can’t-miss spot, perfect for water sports, fishing, or a long waterside walk. Head to the lake’s eastern shore and explore the exceptionally beautiful National Park of Galicica, home to an impressive massif. For great, authentic food, try Restaurant Antiko, located in the middle of Old Town in an old mansion, then cap off the night dancing in a local night club.
2. Brist, Croatia
Croatia is an increasingly popular destination internationally, and with its popular city Brist boasting some of the most affordable rentals in Europe, there’s no better time to plan your visit. This small port town, home to a mere 450 people, sits on a bay of the same name in Dalmatia. Brist takes its name from the elm tree that has been standing in town since 1571, and this picturesque spot is the perfect place for a comfortable and peaceful holiday on the water. The locals have long been involved in fishing and agriculture, and as a result, visitors can sample plenty of amazing food like seafood risotto and quality local wines while in Brist. Dine at Vila Lidus to sample some authentic Croatian cuisine. For the active vacationer, the area offers plenty of pretty places to take long walks or runs and enjoy water sports. While you’re visiting, stop by the longstanding Baroque church St. Margarita, which was built in the 15th century, or marvel at a large image of the Virgin Mary in the St. Ante church.
3. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, one of the top destinations among travelers internationally, is home to some of the most affordable vacation rentals in Europe. As the only city in the world that straddles two continents, Istanbul is often said to be the meeting point for the Eastern and Western worlds. As such, it offers the best of everything. Here the grandiosity of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires are evident in the works of the architecture strewn throughout the city, which standout alongside Istanbul’s towering sky scrapers and modern sports cars.
Istanbul is full of amazing sites. Make sure to visit the Blue Mosque, an incredible monument covered with 20,000 blue-green tiles, broken up only by 260 incredible stained glass windows. To see truly amazing Byzantine architecture visit Aya Sofya. This 8th wonder of the world, completed in 537, boasts an 18-story dome covered in gold tiles.
4. L’viv, Ukraine
With some of Europe's most affordable rentals, plenty of attractions, hostels, tour guides, and great English language information, L'viv is one of Ukraine's most popular cities. Known as the “Little Paris of Ukraine," visitors can enjoy sipping coffee in one of the many local coffee bars, wandering through its cobble stone streets, or experiencing one of the city’s many festivals alongside locals.
Make a stop at the Lvisvske Museum of Beer and Brewing, located inside the oldest functioning brewery in Ukraine. For an incredible view of the city, head up to High Castle Park, built on the ruins of an old castle, or stop by the Opera House. It’s one of the most beautiful theaters in Europe, with incredible design inside and out.
5. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
In addition to being home to some of Europe's most affordable rentals, Sarajevo is home to some of Europe’s best-value skiing. Although the city may have a tragic past, these days tourists make a point of visiting Sarajevo's vibrant streets, full of hookah bars, street cars, cafes, theaters, and boutique shopping. The city boasts a beautiful skyline, with the Dinaric Alps protruding in the distance and beautiful architecture throughout, representing Ottoman, Communist, and Modern styles. To enjoy tasty authentic food and a panoramic view of the city at once, try Kod Bibana.
To understand more of Sarajevo's war-torn history, visit the Tunnel Museum and walk through the tunnel used to bring in food and supplies during the three-year siege of Sarajevo. Another major attraction is Sarajevo City Hall, the building Arch Duke Ferdinand was leaving when he was killed (the event that eventually led to WWI).
6. Le Barcares, France
We were pleasantly surprised to learn that a gorgeous city in the south of France is home to some of the most budget friendly rentals in Europe. Le Barcares is an awesome holiday town built around a small fishing village with a relaxed atmosphere visitors of all ages will enjoy. Its long beach along the turquoise Mediterranean Sea is fringed with cafes, shops, parks, and sculptures. While you explore the city, meander through the Alle des Arts, the first public open-air art museum. The village centers around a bustling square, complete with a merry-go-round perfect for the kids. After a carousel ride, relax at the port area to gawk at the impressive boats bobbing in the harbor. With many open markets, cooks should try preparing an authentic local meal in their Le Barcares vacation rental. If eating out is your preference, there are plenty of restaurants, like La Cuisine des Filles or L’Oriental, serving up delicious traditional food and affordable, tasty wines. Some bottles cost as little as two euros!
7. Bork Havn, Denmark
Sitting on a picturesque harbor in Denmark, Bork Havn is an amazing destination for a relaxed European holiday. The harbor offers great conditions for playing on the beach, swimming, fishing, and surfing. The area is also famous for having one of Northern Europe’s largest bird sanctuaries. In fact, when bird migration is at its peak, visitors can witness a whopping 200 species of birds in the Tipperne Peninsula.
The area also boasts a rich Viking heritage, as it is believed that the Vikings set sail on their expeditions from this area. Bork Havn even has an amazing open air Viking museum (Bork Vikingehavn) where visitors can learn about and imagine the daily lives of Vikings.
8. Belgrade, Serbia
Belgrade, Serbia’s capital city, is one of the oldest cities in Europe, with its beginnings tracing all the way back to the 5th millennium BC. Belgrade has more recently earned its reputation as a party capital, but it is also a historic and cultural center for Serbia and much of Europe. With vibrant nightlife, an abundance of history, and affordable vacation rentals, Belgrade is a fantastic city to visit while traveling around Europe. Spend your days wandering into coffee houses, ice-cream shops, and smoky dens, or sit and people watch along Knez Mihailova, a popular pedestrian area.
The Kalemegdan Citadel, an impressive structure and the reason for nearly 115 battles throughout Serbia’s history, is one of Belgrade’s major attractions. History buffs will also enjoy the Belgrade Underground tour, which takes participants through subterranean caves, bunkers, and secret passageways as they learn about the city’s history from Roman times up through the Cold War.
9. Torrevieja, Spain
Torrevieja is a quickly developing tourist center along Spain’s Mediterranean coast, but despite its growing popularity, it has held on to its relaxed Spanish feel. Two beautiful salt water lakes surround the town, which is famous for its salt production. The town also plays host to large, picturesque marinas, full of sail boats and show-stopping sport boats. Spend your days walking along the marinas, having lunch in the local cafes and restaurants, or shopping at one of the largest street markets in Spain.
Visit La Mata beach for a walk along the boardwalk, or make the drive out to Las Salinas de Terrevieja to see the pink salt lakes and maybe even a flamingo or two.
10. Bremen, Germany
Bremen, one of the ten largest cities in Germany, is famous for being a meeting place for history and innovation. Around 1,200 years old, Bremen is a place of both rich old and modern history, as it’s home to the full-sized Columbus Space Module and the Universum Science Center. Visitors to Bremen are sure to enjoy its friendly people and traditional German food. Soccer fans should make a point of watching a game with the avid local football fans, who have a special zeal for their home town team, Werder Bremen.
As you wander through town, visit one of the most famous areas in the city, the Historische Altstadt, and be sure to get a look at the bronze statue representing the Bremen Town Musicians. The Rhododendron Park is also a great place to explore with a hot coffee in hand.
11. Trapani, Italy
You’re in luck, as Sicily’s gorgeous coastal city, Trapani, is home to some of Europe’s most affordable vacation rentals. Situated on a small peninsula on the west coast of Sicily, Trapani is framed by the beautiful blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Trapani coast is an impressive sight, with dramatic sea cliffs alternating with sandy beaches along the land and sea stacks jutting out of the transparent water. The town itself is full of cultural and historic attractions, like the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and the A. Cordici Civic Museum, home to archaeological findings and paintings from the 18th century. To go further back in time, take the bus just up the hill to Erice, a fortified Medieval town that offers an amazing panoramic view of the area and a bit of history. For a beach day, head to Baia Santa Margherita, a popular spot which boasts a sandy beach, brilliant blue water, and easy access to guests.
12. Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest is another internationally popular destination that’s home to fabulous and affordable rentals. Like L’viv, Bucharest has also earned the moniker of “Little Paris”. With its own Arc of Triumph, tree-lined boulevards, and a large collection of museums, it’s easy to see why. As you walk through Romania’s capital city- we recommend a stroll down Calea Victoriei- you’ll see that its home to varied architecture, beautiful parks, alluring art galleries, great restaurants, and interesting museums. Top ones to visit include the Village Museum, the Romanian Athenaeum, and the Peasant Museum. With bustling nightlife and a popular jazz scene as well, Bucharest is a particularly fun vacation spot for music fans and partiers. Before you leave, visit the Palace of Parliament, the second-largest building in the world (after the Pentagon).
This article was written by Alexis Hartmann and edited by Tripping.com Content Specialist, Lexi Perman.